Weaver's Week 2002-03-23

Weaver's Week Index

23rd March 2002

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.

In the week when Jim Davidson left the GENERATION GAME, we also had:

- Details of a new challenge in Manchester

- A continuing one in Panama

- And Germany's Great Game Shows. A series complete in one part.


The special series will be broadcast on BBC2 from March 25, and pits title winners (and a few runners-up) from across the years against each other to decide the "champion of champions." Thumper will continue to present.

Peter Gwynn, series producer, put out a press release saying: "For this special series, we have invited back some of the most memorable teams ever to take part in University Challenge to compete for the title Champion of Champions. Each match will be preceded by archive material of their past performances, so we'll really get to know each team's history, their strengths and weaknesses and what happened to them in the years since their triumph."

University Challenge Reunited will feature 30 previous University Challenge finalists, competing over 15 first round matches. There will then be the quarter- and semifinal stages and, of course, the grand final determining which team is the champion of champions.

Fixtures in the new series include: Imperial College 95 v Merton Oxford 81 (next week) Trinity Cambridge 94 v New Oxford 64 Bradford 80 v Lancaster 80 (runners up) Sussex 68 v Imperial College 01 Somerville Oxford 02 v Leicester 62 Sidney Sussex Cambridge 72 v University Oxford 73


Last week, we lost Sarah from South island. who trained on a sunbed. Unless you were reading the Daily Tabloid, in which case we lost Helen. The enigmatic eleven:

The Red team, North island

+ Alistair, 34, Motherwell. Superfit, swam and played rugby for Scotland.

+ Drew, 27, Abingdon, female. Cop turned firefighter.

+ David, 54, Newcastle. Fireman and Newcastle Utd supporter.

+ Helen, 22, Sheffield. Hotel worker, lives with mother, loves to travel.

+ Meetah, 34. Financial manager, says she's a nice guy, may get mean.

+ Tayfun, 27, London. Latin American dancer, fitness addict. Thinks machetes float.

The Blue team, South island

+ Bridget, 42, Oxford. Shepherd with two daughters.

+ John, 32, Winchester. Barrister and ex-Marine.

+ Jonny, 30, Edinburgh. Detective, relying on honesty.

+ Lee, 25, Essex. Car sales manager and DJ. Has no patience.

+ Susannah, 27, Wimbledon. Teacher, married, missing hubby already.

This recap is taken from SURVIVOR:RAW, a show that lacks Big Scarf's voiceover, and concentrates on the action, not the post-match interview.

"Bit like the first week at school - I've never been there," says co-presenter Ed Hall. This is not the worst gaffe of the week.

On South Island, Bridget and Lee form an alliance against the two Jonnies. Suze pals with the pair. Up North, Alistair isn't revealing that he's got survival experience. Presenter Charlotte doesn't know how noone's spotted this, so assumes they have, but they're keeping quiet.

RAW is clearly aimed at the zillions who didn't watch the first series of SURVIVOR: THE HIT REALITY SHOW NOONE'S WATCHING. Ed: "What's a reward challenge?" Charlotte: "A challenge for a reward."

It's a canoe race. And - my word! - that's Big Scarf wearing some shorts! One tribe member is to be rescued, North will nominate someone to sit the whole challenge out. Meetah sits out, Drew and Bridget to be rescued. The teams must paddle down a course, grabbing as many household utensils and groceries as possible. Blimey, it's Supermarket Sweep on water. South get stuck in the mud, and North takes a huge lead. Lee jumps out of the boat to get moving again. When he tries to get back in, water starts to seep in. They're sinking! They're sinking! Yes! Wet team, and a walkover for the North. Ed remarks how the North has a toothbrush (just one) and a bottle of shampoo. *That's* where the massive prize budget went.

North island's fire has gone out. They use tampons and kerosene to light it. Tayfun's still gibbering on about the machete silliness. Drew reckons everyone in the country is watching, going "She's a cow, she's a cow." Not quite... South have figured Alistair's background. They've not sussed John's similar military history. Tayfun reckons Alistair is leading a harem.

Let's go for the immunity challenge. Would that be a challenge for immunity, Ed?

This is the hanging from a log challenge. In turn, the team members hang from a log by their arms alone. The team aggregating the longest wins. Helen is the spare wheel for North. Drew contributes almost two minutes, more than anyone else. Going into the final pair, North leads by just over a minute. Tayfun lasts just under a minute, John showboats and hangs around for 7 seconds too little. Oops. Lee is not best pleased.

John reckons he, Johnny, Suze are a unit. Bridget is fire warden and cook, doesn't get noticed, but isn't bothered. Does she not know about forming alliances, making friends?

The voting ... Lee, Lee, Bridget, Lee, Lee. This is not particularly difficult...

This is a perfectly decent show, not brilliant, but nowhere near as bad as last year. It looks like we're going to dub it SURVIVOR II: THE HIT REALITY SHOW THAT EVEN FEWER PEOPLE WATCHED THAN THE ORIGINAL. The audience dropped from last week's 4.3m to 3.8m / 22%. The BBC News at ten scored 4.7m / 27%.


I've spent most of the past week in Germany, and caught a few of their quiz shows. Readers may wish to note that I've only seen about half an episode, and that my knowledge of German is strictly limited. Any mistakes are my own. EUR 1 = £0.60.

Readers wondering where BRITAIN'S BRAINIEST has gone may want to view DEUTSCHLANDS KLUGSTE LEHRER (Germany's Cleverest Teacher, RTL). It's almost the same format, with about one and a half twists. The host is more Carol Smillie than Carol Vorderman, and we do get to see progress in the Codebreaker section. The prize is still a very nice glass sculpture, but also a cheque for EUR 5000.

Another channel invites viewers to call in and play games on national television to almost two viewers. I didn't understand most of the games, but one was the children's favourite CONNECT 4 played on a computer display. EUR 12,000 for beating the channel.

The regional channel for the north shows DIE NDR QUIZSHOW (er, The NDR Quiz Show). Five contestants stand in a lazy curve, one that might grow up to be the FIFTEEN TO ONE set. Each one comes from one of the Lander served by NDR. Each question has four possible answers, and the contestant indicates their chosen answer by pressing a button on their podium. A few questions are given directly to the contestant, who explains their answer. There's an audience that sits and claps, swivelling lights, and faux-orchestral strings. The only element that seems to be novel is the orange light on each podium that flashes when a question is correctly answered.

State broadcaster ARD offers DAS QUIZ. Two contestants are summoned; they're asked a series of questions with four answers. Contestant A offers an answer, which contestant B can accept or change. They can offer reasons behind their answer, but can't otherwise confer. A and B swap roles during the quiz. Twelve correct answers give EUR 250,000; there are safe havens at 5 and 8 correct answers. This is a Pearson co-production, so may appear here.

Commercial rival SAT1 airs DIE QUIZSHOW. One player is picked from the audience, and brings a question with them. I assume they find the question on their seat, or something similar. If they get this correct, the paper is theatrically shredded, a cute touch. Question 2 has two options, and so on up to question 10, with ten potential answers and only one correct. After a few questions, the show becomes like WINNER TAKE ALL, the contestant staking all, some, or less of their winnings from the category. One question is an Obligatory Phone A Viewer; a correct answer gives the caller the amount the player staked. Didn't catch a co-prod credit, but I do think this could be a winning format.


We hear that Fremantle Media has acquired international rights to a Russian game show format in which contestants have to steal a car and evade capture by Moscow police. In INTERCEPTOR (not to be confused with the Sean O'Kane late 80s classic), contestants have to evade the police for 35 minutes to win. The stolen car is equipped with a tracking system while Russian traffic cops hunt them down through Moscow's city streets in four US-made police cars.

The press release ends with a telling sentence, possibly excerpted from THE RUNNING MAN:

"Interceptor is expected to continue to be produced from Moscow if it sells internationally, with international contestants being flown in for shooting."


Another Saturday night, another BBC1 line up. Football means the first quiz is the last in the series of DOG EAT DOG at 7. This week's MILLIONAIRE gimmick is Twins. CLASS OF revisits 1982.

THE RACE heads for Cambodia, and is possibly the episode where it begins to get interesting.

New: THE ENEMY WITHIN, BBC1, 12 noon Mon-Thu. Before heading off to POP IDLE US, Nasty Nigel presents a general knowledge quiz show with five contestants. One is The Enemy, primed with all the answers. The genuine contestants must root out the plant to win the money. Followed by WIPEOUT.

The Smart Alec in Dictionary Corner is Richard Stilgoe. Hurrah!

BBC2's coverage of the TECHNO GAMES contines at 6:45 all week.

JET SET moves to a new slot at 8:20. Don't forget to miss it.

On SURVIVOR, the tedious ten complete challenges involving fire, ice, water, and (er) swimming. 9:45 Wed, repeated 8 Th on ITV2.

Friday sees UK Horizons' ROBOT WARS day.

To have Weaver's Week emailed to you on publication day (usually Saturday), receive our exclusive TV roundup of the game shows in the week ahead, and chat to other ukgameshows.com readers sign up to our Yahoo! Group.

Back to Weaver's Week Index

A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in